May 02, 2012

Rome (And Clean Basements) Wasn't Built In a Day

Well, that title is as catchy as it's getting today...my brain hurts...

I mustered up some determination this week...after spending Saturday morning running errands for things we needed for our yard, we had a few hours in the afternoon in which we actually worked in the yard - I mowed, trimmed, edged, pulled weeds, turned garden boxes for planting, and took care of kids and dog while BB attempted to fix our sprinkler system.  I say attempted because what he thought was wrong, wasn't really wrong, and now in order to run our sprinklers I must first go turn on the water to the system, then manually turn on each scheduled section, and then go and turn off the water to the system until such a time as BB can dig up the broken portion and replace it.

Sunday was spent with round 2 of "Operation: Repair Sprinklers" by BB, and "Operation: Occupy Stir-Crazy Children" by me.

Therefore, Monday was spent doing load after load after load of laundry, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, and mopping the 2nd floor.  All the bedrooms are now serene, and clean - no extraneous stuff floating about, no dust bunnies threatening a coup of the authority in the house...The main floor, however, is another story altogether.  There are plants, seedlings, dirt, pet hair, crumbs, sticky spots on my floors, the overwhelming scent of dog in need of bath (not from anything he got into, just that scent that comes with dogs), stacks of BB's magazines and books on tables, Legos scattered...it is overwhelming and frustrating to me.

My basement is still a crazy mess, but less so after this morning...

Tuesday, I spent doing more laundry, and trying to pick up and put away the things I knew could be put away or into recycling/trash bins.

This morning, I went downstairs, and was able to put away about 1/3 of the items from our storage room - those things I know we're indeed keeping:  the canner and empty jars, the roasting pan, the tubs of clothes waiting for Littlest One to grow into, the tubs of "Seasonal Decorations" (which are indeed packed into tubs by season and labeled accordingly.  Yes, I am that woman!), the tubs of toys from childhood waiting to be passed along to the girls when they get a bit older.  I've filled up a large trash can once, and am taking bags downstairs with me after breakfast into which said trash will go.  I need to move a few other things around, sweep the floor and free it of cat litter, and then I can truly put things away in a much more organized fashion.

I have even begun "Operation: Garage Sale Success" early this year!  I have items that are cleaned and priced, packed neatly into cardboard boxes, waiting to be carried upstairs in just 17 days.

I still have much to go through, and am rather appalled at the piles of papers that are in my basement.  Things that come in the mail or newspaper that I set aside telling myself "I'll copy this recipe off later" and then it gets picked up and carried to the basement and there it sits...I found coupon fliers from 2008!!!!

There, my dirty little secret is out!  I may be OCD in some areas (closets and cabinets anyone???), but if there's an area of my house that will likely not be seen by anyone, I tend to shove and pile, and move, and shove some more...

It's an ugly cycle, one that I'm determined to break, and am already building new habits to alleviate the trouble it causes.  If I want to copy a recipe, or save an article, I immediately get the tools I need, do the work, file the information accordingly, and then recycle/donate the publication.  When we come home from shopping, I immediately put ALL the items in their homes, wipe out my reusable shopping bags, fold them up, and put them back into the car.  I'm slowly but surely getting the habit of "put it where it belongs no matter what!" back into my system.

I've always been a "stuffer", though...growing up, I have distinct, clear memories of not wanting to do the work of "cleaning" my room (putting away clothes, books, and stuffed animals, not difficult really) and therefore shoving everything under my twin-sized bed, where it would be hidden from sight by my white-eyelet JC Penny special bedspread (that matched the curtains and pillow sham, as well as closely mimicking my hobnail milk glass lamp on my dresser), and later the dust ruffle.  I also have distinct memories of keeping EVERYTHING I picked up at "events" - the Fair & Rodeo, parades, conferences, weddings, graduations, treasure boxes at doctors or dentists, crafts made in Sunday School and VBS, those notes that we folded into interesting shapes in Junior High, stickers - and having a "junk drawer" that was supposed to be my limit of what I could keep, but finding places to stash things.

I see that same behavior already showing up in own kids, and I'm nipping it in the bud as quickly as I can!  I want my kids to know that there are things truly worth keeping and treasuring, and that there are things that are passing fancy - and that it's ok to keep or discard - it is THEIR decision.  BUT, I do have the strict rule of no food or drink in bedrooms, and that any toys (which I HATE) in their rooms, MUST be put away when they leave their rooms.  Lego creations don't have to be unbuilt, but the Legos MUST NOT be on the floor, toybox lid, bed, dresser, or bookcase.  Magnetic dolls from Melissa & Doug MUST have all pieces picked up and put back in their box, and all clothing must be in its drawer, on its hanger, or in the dirty clothes.   Princess learned that the hard way this winter when she went to get a pair of socks out of her drawer, only to find she had none.  And none were waiting to be folded from the dryer - they were all stuffed under her toy box, wadded up, waiting to be noticed.  I had no sympathy for her, and she went with no socks inside her boots while we picked up Captain from school.

I suppose I may seem a bit weird to some, with the dichotomy of organizing styles, and habits I have.

But if you don't have to live here, then you don't get to complain or make fun of me.

And now, back to it - time to put the kiddos down for naps, get dinner things marinating and defrosting, and then back to the salt mines...errrr...basement.

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